Programmatic access to knowledge organisation systems

Binding, C. and Tudhope, D. (2004). KOS at your service: programmatic access to knowledge organisation systems. Journal of Digital Information, 4(4), available at: Binding/

Thesaurus based search systems often have low recall with fewer matching results.  FACET tries to address this by generalizing queries using semantic expansion to include partially matching results.  Then the user can decide on how to reformulate the search given the search/browse results. This paper provides nice examples and explanations of possible methods for displaying and possibly providing access to content.

Ways to explore a thesaurus with FACET:

  • Hierarchical display—browsing using a hierarchical tree
  • Semantic browsing—semantic expansion as a way to browse by semantic closeness of terms to the base concept
  • Related terms—associative relationships in a comma separated list
  • Scope notes—clarifies contextual scope allowing user to disambiguate between terms
  • Interactive query building—vary the degree of expansion of the query
  • Querying collections—matches terms to items in the collection; displays collection, index terms, and description

A summary of interface component data requirements are also provided.  For each component (e.g., hierarchical display, semantic expansion, etc.), some design considerations are noted with regard to how the overall display should look and function as well how the individual concepts will be displayed or represented (see table 1 for more details).

It might be useful to look at these methods for concept displays as possible basic features for a thesaurus based browsing interface.  This paper mainly covers query expansion and possible protocols for interoperability between KOS and DL services, but it could potentially be applied to support the indexing process as well (i.e., searching for terms to index objects in the collection).

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